Tuesday, April 4, 2006

A Rolling Experience from my Younger Days

Learning to Roll... your Bike!

Now the warm weather is back in the Great White North, we're all waiting for the lakes to soften up a bit so we can paddle in them rather than ski on them. In the meantime, with the snow pushed off to the sides of the roads, more or less, it's time to get our bikes out and enjoy the Spring frost heaves. It's a bit like playing in the tide rips in your kayak, but lots more dangerous (fun?).

When I was younger, my bike of choice was a red one like this, a Laverda 750 SF single seat café racer. Fast, nimble and taughtly sprung, it was a real devil on the frost heaves. In fact, it was on this bike that I first got a hint that one could roll a transportation device. Motoring into an 'S' curve outside a New England village one cold, wet day, I hit a series of heaves and realised I was going down, err.. I mean, about to roll.

I realise today that I instinctively set up for a classic Standard Greenland roll! I bent forward and threw myself towards my 'on side' as the bike went over. The bike being so firmly sprung, it hit the next wave and bounced upwards as I hit the surface, allowing me to pass underneath, half completing the roll. Arching my upper torso, and raising my downside knee, I began making the usual move around to the rear deck, I mean, the rear wheel, hoping naturally to be able to sit up and ride off as I came up. The bike had other ideas, however and I was forced to do a wet exit and push off smartly after which I slithered over a couple of more frost heaves and got tossed into the backwash in the ditch. The bike came to a stop a bit further down the beach, I mean road.

Other than a blown tire, the bike was still rideable, so I paddled, I mean rode it slowly into town not much worse for wear and repaired the tire. Like any smart paddler, I was wearing a good leather dry suit that day so didn't suffer from any unsightly road rash, which is lots worse than cold water against the skin!


Hans Heupink said...

Hi Michael!
It's such a pity to roll a classic Italian motorbike. Not to say it is rude!
I am glad that you are wiser now and roll things that are meant for doing so!

Michael said...

The good news is I still own the bike, it's in perfect shape. I don't use it much as it likes leaded fuel... so hard to get these days. And yes, kayaks roll so much more pleasantly!